Karri-borlbme Kun-wok



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English Translation
I am your father (or father's sister)
(Bale ka-yime karri-ngeybun?)

So that's a retroflex nasal first and a velar nasal at the end. b-o-rn-a-ng.


The verb root is -bornan and in this case the prefix which tells us who is doing the fathering and who is being fathered is actually a zero prefix. That means there is nothing on the front of the verb, but that in itself is meaningful. It means you can say a lot with a two syllable word. When you have a zero prefix it means that the subject (the person doing the fathering) is the first person singular 'I' and the object (the person being fathered) is the second person singular 'you'. There are of course lots of other prefixes you could have:

nga-bornang 'I fathered him/her' > I am his/her father
ngan-bornang 'he fathered me' > he is my father
ngun-bornang 'he fathered you' > he is your father
yi-bornang 'you fathered him/her' > you are his/her father
kan-bornang 'you fathered me' > you are my father (would be spelt gan-bornang in Gundjeihmi)
bornang 'I fathered you.' > I am your father


The kinship verb -bornan has a wider meaning than just one's actual biological father. In Bininj culture, one has many fathers. Your father's brothers and sisters and other people classed as father by the classificatory kinship system are also your fathers in the sense that they are in your patriline in the next generation above you. And your father's sisters, your aunties, are also kind of like female fathers. The verb -bornan can also be used in relation to your father's sister. She can say to her brother's child— bornang 'I fathered you > I am in your next generation patriline'.

(Bale kabirri-yime?)

Gorlonj nga-yime, nga-bornang. (Gundjeihmi)
I call him/her my child, I fathered him/her.

Namege bininj ba-yaubornang. (Gundjeihmi)
That man has conceived a child.

Na-ngale ngun-bornang? (Kunwinjku & Gundjeihmi)
Who is your father?

05 May 2015